Streptococcus pneumoniae is a globally present pathogen which colonizes the nasal cavity and can cause diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract. Penicillin is very effective against these infections. However, its effectiveness is declining due to increasing resistance. The pathogen becomes increasingly dangerous when a “capsule” of mucous-like substances develops around it. This provides the bacterium with better protection against multiple attacks from the immune system and also from antibiotics and makes it easier for it to spread and to attack the respiratory tract more intensively. Penicillin-binding proteins in these capsules play an important role in this.
The project examines the relatively small number of bacterial strains which have such resistance to penicillin. It will look at those characteristics which enable the spread and colonization of these resistant strains and ultimately cause disease in the host. These findings are to be used to identify and improve measures for therapy and prevention.